Can Hypnosis Relive Depression?
I seriously doubt that this is possible. As someone who has suffered from clinical major depression for at least 30 years, I know that at least for me, my depression is a biochemical problem. My father also suffered from depression. For me, during the throes of the worst episode I had ever had, I was convinced that nothing could have helped me. I’ve taken many different antidepressants, and when I was fortunate enough to have a good doctor who didn’t play Russian Roulette with drugs on me, I’d get relief after taking an antidepressant for a while, but then things would just go back to the way they were or get worse. It was as though I had never taken the medication in the first place.
Interestingly, the most recent episode I had which was without question the worst one I ever had lasted for over a year. I spiraled downward every time I tried a new medication. I was finally put in touch with a Physician’s Assistant who specialized in this very sort of thing. He gave me a prescription for an antidepressant and this particular medication started to work within a week. I was in graduate school at the time, and thankfully, I had a professor who was sympathetic to my plight and allowed me some flexibility. I later found out that she understood because she too suffered from depression.
Major clinical depression is a physical and emotional disease. The symptoms vary from episode to episode and person to person. Some people have severe physical pain, others experience extreme fatigue and a lack of energy. Sometimes people have crying spells. They may over eat and some may not eat at all. There is no cookie cutter way to describe depression because it can change so much and so quickly.
As I discovered that year when I kept trying different drugs without any relief, when someone is going through the sort of depression that I was, you need a specialist. You need to see a board certified psychiatrist or a Physician’s Assistant who is experienced at this sort of thing. Fortunately for me, I happened to live in a college town and I was able to take advantages of the resources of the state university hospital system.
I am a success story and I can tell people about that experience because I had people who cared enough about me to do what they could to get me care as fast as possible. I’ve known people for whom success never came. I know of two people, one of whom was an acquaintance, the other a close friend who suffered from depression to such an extreme that they took their own lives. They clearly planned to do this because no one had any idea about what was going to happen. They were extremely skilled at hiding their plan. I’m no expert, but I feel pretty certain that had my friend had people who refused to leave her alone (I mean that literally, too,) she might be alive today.
I do not believe for a minute that any of these people or myself would have benefited from hypnosis – and so what if they had? How long would the effects of the hypnosis last? What happens when the effects of hypnosis wear off? Would these people be back at square one? I know that my own depression has been so long lasting (although it hasn’t been constant for these 30 years,) that I can never know when or if I’ll have another episode. There are things that happen in life and that can make me feel depressed on a temporary basis, but I know that I’m just dealing with events that happen in life, and that my feelings are temporary. I know that what I may be feeling is normal for that situation. And I know that in time, what I’m feeling will abate.
I’m experienced enough with dealing with episodes of depression to know that when I am suffering from a bout of clinical depression, I want a long lasting relief. I want to feel better as soon as possible. I don’t want a temporary fix which is likely what hypnosis is. I want to feel some sort of assurance that my illness (since major clinical depression is an illness,) will get better and that I can recover and resume a normal life. With hypnosis, I would never know for certain whether the results would be long lasting, and in my mind, that unknown just isn’t good enough.